Lunch Money

Greg Kenton loved money – and he made a lot of it (for a kid) because he had a lot of entrepreneurial ideas and talent. One day he figured that he could make a lot of money selling things right in his own school. So he decided to produce and sell his own Chunky Comics, which turned out to be quite a hit. That is, until he ran into competition from a fellow student – and nemesis – Mura Shaw. The school principal also had issues with sanctioning school businesses, especially one that sold “low level” literature like comic books! This humorous, well-written story teaches many economic and business concepts and will keep your students interested with its fast moving plot.

Interested in using this resource in your classroom? Check out the posters that go along with this book: Capital Resources, Profit, Goods and Services, Productive Resources, Human Resources, Economic Wants, Supply and Demand, Producers, Consumers, Trade and Money, Specialization, Productivity, Price, Banks and Credit Unions, Saving Account, Credit Card

Comprehension Questions

What were some of Greg’s economic wants? That is, what were some of the goods that he purchased with the money he earned around the neighborhood? (Ch. 1, p. 6, also see Ch. 9, p. 94)

Soccer ball, aluminum flashlights, baseball cards, Beanie Babies, comic books.

He imagined he would be rich someday. What kind of goods (economic wants) did he expect to purchase then? (Chapter 1, p.7)

Car, speedboat, house in the mountains, home theatre system, his own Pacific island, seaplane with private crew.

How did he expect to get rich some day? (Chapter 1, p.7)

He knew he had to work to get rich.

Greg had a special talent for earning money – and he worked hard. What were some of the services that he provided to neighbors and to members of his family? (Chapter 1, p. 2-9)

Making beds for his brothers, cleaning clothes, picking up clothes, hanging up used towels, emptying waste baskets, getting deposit refunds on cans and bottles, shining his Mom’s and Dad’s shoes, cleaning floor tiles, digging up dandelions, picking bugs off plants, raking and bagging leaves, shoveling snow, sweeping garages, taking care of pets and the mail for those on vacation, and collecting fees from lending money.

Greg’s dad suggested that he put some of his earnings in the bank so he could earn interest and keep it safe. What is a bank and why are they important. What is interest?

Banks (and credit unions) are financial institutions that provide financial services, especially saving and loaning money. These institutions are crucial for a modern economy to function effectively. Basically, banks help get money from savers to investors. Interest is money paid to those who put money in the bank. Interest is also paid to the bank by those investors who have borrowed money.

Greg said he needed to borrow and use his mom’s credit card. What is a credit card and how does it work?

A credit card is not money. When you use a credit card you are actually getting a loan from the credit card company. If you pay it back within a month, you don’t pay any interest. If you don’t pay the full amount of the loan each month, you must pay interest. And the interest rates are high – so it is important to pay credit card bills in full each month! The credit card company also earns money from the stores who accept them. The stores must pay the credit card company about 2-3 percent of each sale. Credit cards are a great convenience, but they must be used responsibly.

What were the productive resources that Greg needed to produce one of his Chunky Comics? (Chapter 4: pgs. 30-32, 35-36)

Paper, stapler, staples, pen, ink, copy machine, his labor and expertise at drawing

Categorize what he needed into each kind of productive resource.

Natural Resources: While staples, ink, and paper are technically capital resources in the production process (i.e. they are not found in nature), it takes land, water, and sunshine to grow trees for the paper, and ink is made from a variety of natural resources. It also takes metal ore for the staples and to make the stapler and copy machine.

Capital Resources: copy machine, stapler, pens (also, ink, staples, paper – see above)

Human Resources: Greg’s labor and expertise

What do we call the special artistic skills and abilites that Greg (or any person) had?

Human capital.

What is profit? How much profit did Greg figure he would earn from each comic he produced? Figure this as a class on the blackboard.

Profit is the money left over from sales revenues after all the costs of production are subtracted. ales revenue for one comic: 25¢ Production Costs: Ink, paper, two stables - 2¢ 23¢ But remember, this does not include the opportunity cost of Greg’s time! If that were included, he would make less than 23¢ on each comic.

What special entrepreneurial trait did Greg possess that made him successful? (Chapter 3, p. 22-23; Chapter 4, p. 36)

He was not easily discouraged; he persevered when he ran into obstacles.

Greg had business competition from Mura, who made and sold beautiful pot holders to the neighbors. When she sold to Greg’s mom, she raised her price from $2 to $3. Why was she able to do that?

She only had a limited supply of potholders left and the demand was high because people really liked them. She could charge “what the market would bear.”

Who benefited when Mura sold Greg’s mom the pot holder for $3?

Both Mura and Greg’s mom. When people make a trade/exchange, both people benefit. This is why both buyer and seller often say “thank you” after a sale is made!

Greg was relieved that Mura didn’t know how to “mass produce” her comics. (Chapter 7, p. 70) She was not a “serious competitor” – yet. What does “mass produce” mean?

Mass produce means that you can produce a lot of a product in a certain period of time. At first, Mura did not know how to produce many comics per hour or day. That is, she had low productivity.

Greg was nervous that Mura would increase her productivity. (Chapter 12, p. 113) How was Mura going to increase her productivity? Why was this such a threat to Greg?

She would increase her skills in how to produce her comics. By learning how to mass produce her excellent comics (i.e. increase her productivity) she would threaten his business!

At the end of the story (Chapter 24, p. 219) Greg and Mura had plans to increase their productivity even more! How?

They were going to purchase better capital resources – an electric stapler and a better paper cutter

How did Greg and Mura increase their productivity by specializing/dividing the labor as they produced comics? (Chapter 16, pgs. 151-154)

Mura specialized in drawing and Greg in lettering. They could produce more each day that way, and the quality was better

What lesson did Mura help Greg to learn about producing his comics? (Chapter 16, p. 159-163)

Greg learned that making money was not everything; the quality of his product was important, too.

Author: Andrew Clements

Published: 2005

Grade Level: 3-7

Accelerated Reader Level/Points: 6.0

Lexile Measure: 840L

Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers